Stroke Archive


A closer look at alcohol's effect on heart health

Excessive drinking can contribute to high blood pressure, obesity, and stroke, while moderate drinking (no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks or fewer per day for men) is linked to a lower risk of heart problems. One possible mechanism might be stress reduction. Brain scans of people who reported light to moderate drinking show less activity in the part of the brain that responds to stress, compared with the scans of people who abstained or drank very little. Stress not only raises blood pressure and heart rate but also triggers inflammation that causes plaque buildup, which contributes to heart attacks.

Testosterone therapy may be safe for men at risk for heart attack and stroke

A 2023 study suggests taking testosterone replacement therapy does not raise the risk for heart attacks or stroke among men with cardiovascular disease or a high risk for it, but it could increase the risk of atrial fibrillation, acute kidney injury, and pulmonary embolism.

Focusing on six food groups may help prevent cardiovascular disease

A 2023 study suggests eating enough of six categories of food common in popular heart-health diets is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. The six groups are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, fish, and dairy products.

Weather and air pollution linked to heart-related hospitalizations

Lower temperatures, high wind speed, atmospheric pressure, high precipitation, and high degrees of pollution may raise the risk of being hospitalized for serious heart-related conditions. Modeling these factors may help forecast future heart problems.

The (almost) last word on alcohol and health

Research into the health benefits of alcohol has not provided a clear answer. Some findings suggest that alcohol helps protect against heart disease and lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and drinkers tend to live longer than nondrinkers. Other studies say these benefits are less clear. If you don't drink alcohol now, there are no health reasons to start drinking. If you do enjoy it, it's best to have no more than 2 drinks in the same day.

Sleep problems may raise the risk of stroke

A 2023 study suggests that sleep problems such as snoring, snorting, or getting too much or little sleep can significantly raise the odds of having a stroke.

Salty diet linked to narrowed arteries in the heart and neck

The more salt people eat, the greater their risk of clogged heart and neck arteries, a 2023 study suggests. Narrowed arteries (atherosclerosis) can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

COVID-19's cardiac legacy: An update

COVID-19 may increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, including heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure, up to a year after the infection. But vaccination appears to lower these risks. Getting just one dose of a COVID vaccine may halve the risk of myocarditis, a rare condition that causes inflammation of the heart muscle that can arise after viral infections.

Cannabis: A cardiovascular concern?

Marijuana use, which is rising among older adults, appears to heighten the risk of heart-related problems. Cannabis is known to increase heart rate and blood pressure, although high doses can have the opposite effect. Marijuana use has been implicated in causing heart attacks, atrial fibrillation, stress cardiomyopathy, and arteritis.

Taking fewer daily steps still offers protection from heart problems

People who take an average of 4,500 steps each day may have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and heart failure than those who take less than 2,000 steps per day.

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